Man arrested over tsunami death email hoaxes


British police have arrested a man after a hoaxer posing as a government official emailed relatives of people missing since the Asian tsunami, saying their loved ones had been confirmed dead.

The hoaxer, claiming to be from the "Foreign Office Bureau" in Thailand, targeted people who had placed appeals for information about relatives and friends on the Sky News website.

Police said they arrested a 40-year-old man in Lincolnshire and seized computer equipment in a joint operation by London's Metropolitan Police and Lincolnshire police. The man was being questioned at a London police station.

All the messages came from one bogus email address, ukgovfoffice

"The British government would not use email to convey news of the death of a loved one," police said.

"Anyone receiving such an email should treat it with utmost caution."

Sky News said it was "disgusted" at the abuse of the message board on its website and had contacted police as soon as it was alerted to the hoaxes.